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J Nucl Med. 1992 May;33(5):696-703.

Changes in regional cerebral blood flow during brain maturation in children and adolescents.

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Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, CEA, Orsay, France.


Regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was studied by SPECT using 133Xe in 42 children, aged 2 days to 19 years, considered as neurologically normal. rCBF was measured on cortical regions and on the cerebellum and thalamus. Curves for reference values and standard deviation were defined for each region. At birth, cortical rCBFs were lower than those for adults; after birth they increased until 5 or 6 yr of age to values 50%-85% higher than those for adults and thereafter decreased, reaching adult levels between 15 and 19 yr. Neonatal values of rCBF on cerebellum and thalamus were slightly higher than adult level, but not significantly; after age 1, they followed the common pattern for cortical curves. When rCBFs were expressed in percent global CBF, they were lower at birth than adult levels in the cortex, then increased and reached a plateau corresponding to the adult value before the second year of age. The time needed to reach normal adult values differed for each cortical region. The shortest time was found on the primary cortex and the longest on the associative cortex. Cognitive development of the child seems to be related to changes in blood flow of the corresponding brain regions.

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